2011 Kia Optima SX Turbo: Flash Drive
This 2011 review is representative of model years 2011 to 2014.
By Staff of MSN Autos
The Kia Optima SX Turbo is wonderful; I can't think of any area in which it disappoints. It is also simply gorgeous to look at. There is enough legroom in front and rear to easily accommodate passengers over six feet tall, and its trunk is very large. And with a turbo engine, the Kia Optima manages an impressive balance of speed, power and economy. It accelerates briskly, yet I managed 25 mpg in mixed driving. It's not a bargain-basement car, but it certainly is a bargain. –Paul Hagger
Here's an exception to the rule, "Don't mess with a good thing." Kia took an already great car, its Optima, and made it even better by adding a turbocharged 274-horsepower 2.0-liter engine and sport suspension. At first I thought the turbo engine had too much power to deliver through the front wheels--but I was wrong. Being a little patient at low speeds mitigated the torque steer I expected, and once you're moving, the additional 74 horsepower over the normally aspirated Optima EX is welcome and comes with no penalty. The EPA rating for the SX Turbo is 22 mpg city/34 mpg highway, only 1 mpg less in the city and the same highway rating as the EX. The suspension is firm but not harsh, and the steering is responsive, eliminating the artificial, heavy feeling of the EX. The EX is tuned to appeal to the heart of the mainstream market, but the SX Turbo is a practical, efficient car that a driving enthusiast would enjoy every day. –Mike Meredith
I was very impressed with the standard Optima, and this SX Turbo really takes things up a notch. Most noticeable is the added 75 horsepower from the turbocharged engine. The car is very quick, and surprisingly there isn't much torque steer, even with all that power going through the front wheels. Handling is very good with the upgraded suspension in the SX, and the traction-control system works well without being overly obtrusive. But the most amazing thing about this car is its value. Our test car was fully loaded, including a panorama sunroof, heated and cooled seats, heated rear seats, navigation with traffic reporting and stylish wheels, all for just $30K. One of the best values on the market, there's no good reason not to consider this car when shopping for a new sedan. –Perry Stern